DNR News: Follow these tips for a safe, fun Fourth

Share or view as webpage  |  Update preferences

News Digest - Week of June 28, 2021


Have a safe holiday weekend!

As our state works to reopen to the public, some of this week's stories may reflect how the Department of Natural Resources has adapted to meet customer needs and protect public health and safety. We will continue to share news and information about the best ways to discover and enjoy Michigan's natural and heritage resources!

Here's a look at some of this week's stories:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and others, are available in this folder. Header photo courtesy Elisha Terada via Unsplash, and sparkler photo in first story courtesy Pixabay.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Sunset swim at Muskegon State Park

An adult and two children running in the water at Muskegon State Park beach

Want to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Amy Somerville at Muskegon State Park in Muskegon County? Visit Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the photo ambassadors! For more on the program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182.

Keep sparks under wraps this Fourth of July


Summer sunshine is here, and with it comes long lakeside days, evenings by the campfire and the excitement of Independence Day celebrations. That sunshine, though, brings drought conditions that have affected portions of Michigan, leaving forests and fields vulnerable to wildfire. Even with recent rain, fire risks remain, especially in northern Michigan. DNR firefighters have already responded to 240 or more blazes this year.

As you make July Fourth plans, prepare for a fun and safe celebration. Fireworks are best left to trained professionals, but if you decide to use them at home, follow these tips to keep people safe and avoid sparking a wildfire:

  • Toss fireworks and sparklers into a bucket of water when finished. 
  • Keep a water source ready to spray embers from fireworks. Spray the entire area you plan to use fireworks with water before starting and when finished.
  • Don’t try to reignite fireworks that don’t go off.
  • Don’t launch fireworks into forests or fields where dry grass or leaves could ignite.
  • Always supervise kids and keep fireworks away from your face and eyes.

Aerial fireworks such as Roman candles and bottle rockets are not allowed in Michigan state parks at any time; however, smaller novelty fireworks such as fountains, sparklers and ground spinners are still permitted.

Sky lanterns, also popular on holidays, essentially become litter. They leave wires where they land that can entangle wildlife, and they can also start wildfires. 

Spark-free alternatives to fireworks include ribbon dancers, biodegradable confetti poppers, glow-in-the dark bubbles and glow sticks. 

Find wildfire prevention tips at Michigan.gov/PreventWildfires, and check open burning status at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit.

Questions? Contact Paul Rogers at 616-260-8406.

Don’t invite a bear to your BBQ

bear and grill

The smoky-sweet smell of bratwursts on the grill can entice more than just your Uncle Bob. Food scraps and odors left on unclean grills are enough to attract bears and other curious wildlife. As we head into the holiday weekend, keep in mind that properly cleaning grills, eating utensils and picnic areas helps protect bears and keep wildlife wild. 

Bears can remember the locations of food sources and will continue to return if food is available. Bears that rely on human food sources can lose their natural fear of humans, which often results in negative outcomes for the bears.  

To avoid attracting bears, clean grills after each use and make sure all grease, fat and food particles are removed. Store clean grills and smokers in a secure area that keeps bears out. Don’t burn trash in campfire pits or camp grills, as food waste usually does not get burned adequately to remove food smells. 

Those who live and recreate in bear country share the responsibility of avoiding activities that create potential problems for bears. Learn more about How to be Bear SMART at Michigan.gov/Wildlife. 

Questions? Contact Rachel Leightner at 517-243-5813.

Explore a Wetland Wonder this summer and win!

Swans on wetland lake

You have about two more weeks to enter the Explore MI Wetland Wonders Challenge by visiting one of Michigan’s Wetland Wonders! Entries must be received by July 16.  

Scattered across the state, from Portage Marsh State Wildlife Management Area in the Upper Peninsula to Pointe Mouillee State Game Area just 25 miles from the Ohio border, Michigan’s Wetland Wonders provide year-round recreation opportunities like birding, boating, fishing, hiking, photography and hunting.  

Document your trip to a Wetland Wonder with a selfie and you could win a $1,000 Cabela’s gift card for outdoor gear. The more Wetland Wonders you visit, the more entries you get! Can you visit all 15? The Explore MI Wetland Wonders contest is sponsored by Consumers Energy with partners MI Birds and Michigan United Conservation Clubs.  

Four lucky winners will be randomly drawn July 23. Each will receive a gift card; the grand prizewinner will take home a $1,000 gift card, the second prizewinner $750, the third prizewinner $500 and the fourth prizewinner $250.  

To be entered in the drawing, take a selfie by a sign with the name of the state game or wildlife area at one of Michigan’s 15 Wetland Wonders locations. Email your photo along with your name, email address, phone number and mailing address to DNR-WetlandWonders@Michigan.gov.  

Michigan's Wetland Wonders provide high-quality wetlands for waterfowl and waterbirds while offering outdoor recreation opportunities. These areas are funded by hunting license fees, but they are open for anyone to visit, use and enjoy most of the year.  

Visit Michigan.gov/WetlandWonders for full contest rules, locations and more information about Michigan’s awesome Wetland Wonders! 

Questions? Contact Holly Vaughn at 248-881-9429.  


Can't wait to hit the water? Make sure you check out our Boating the Great Lakes page for safety info, harbor guides and more!


Summer fishing season is here! Grab your gear and and find a place to fish. Just make sure you have a 2021 fishing license


Celebrate the holiday by gathering with friends and doing some good. Adopt-a-forest and help keep these areas free of illegal trash.